Potato Allergy 101: What You Should Know About Potato Intolerance

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Potatoes are delicious, nutritious, and versatile. But if you have a potato allergy, potato intolerance, or are sensitive to potatoes, you might need to make some dietary changes besides just avoiding potatoes.

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Potato Food Family

Potato is a member of the Solanaceae Food Family.

The Solanaceae Food Family is also known as the Nightshade Family or simply as Nightshades (1).

Potatoes may be referred to as White Potato or Irish Potato to differentiate it from sweet potatoes. There are over 5000 types of potatoes (2).

purple ,red, and yellow potatoes are are displayed on a wood tray

Allergic reactions may occur with both raw and cooked potato. Raw potato allergic reactions may occur when cutting or peeling potatoes. Potatoes are the 4th most popular crop worldwide, and they are added to countless ingredients in the United States, so be sure to read food labels (3).

Potato Cross Reactivity

People who have allergy to birch pollen, grass pollen, or latex may experience cross reactive allergic reaction to potato (4).  Similarly, having a potato allergy may increase the risk of developing a pollen allergy (5).

Nightshade List

If you are allergic to potatoes or sensitive to potatoes, you may be allergic or sensitive to the following foods in the Nightshade Food Family (source):

  • Eggplant
  • Gogi Berry
  • Tobacco
  • Tomato
  • Tomatillo
  • Paprika
  • Pimento
  • Many different types of peppers
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Pepper
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeno Pepper 
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Yellow Bell Pepper
eggplants and red peppers displayed in a white tray

Nightshade Sensitivity

Nightshade sensitivity is associated with gut health, leaky gut, autoimmune conditions, and Irritable Bowel Disease. Symptoms may include digestive discomfort, fatigue, and joint pain (6).

man with knee joint pain from a potato allergy

Nightshade plants contain compounds that may cause symptoms. The main trigger is solanine. Other components are alkaloids, nicotine, capsaicin, and lectins. Generally speaking, these substances are natural poisons that ward off bugs.

In high doses, these can be harmful to humans. Most people can tolerate these in the small amounts found in common nightshade foods. However, some people are more sensitive to their effects and feel much better when avoiding these foods (7). 

Nightshade Allergy

As with all types of food allergy, nightshade allergy may be life threatening and may include severe allergic reactions such as hives, swollen throat, and difficulty breathing (6).

Help For Potato Allergy, Potato Sensitivity & Potato Intolerance

Like most things in life, when you have more information you can make better choices. Here is some information on how to avoid potatoes and how to replace potatoes in your diet. 

Here is some information on hidden sources of potato in common foods as well as a list of foods that can be used to replace potatoes at meals and as snacks.

Hidden Sources of Potato

Be on the lookout for potatoes in the following foods: 

  • French fries
  • Hamburger meat (Potato flakes may be added for thickening.)
  • Potato Chips 
  • Waffles ( May contain potato starch.)
  • Canned soup
  • Yeast (May be brewed with potatoes.)
  • Breads or other baked goods made with potato flour.  
  • Vodka
  • Candy (May contain potato starch.)
  • Shredded Cheese (May be used to prevent the cheese shreds from sticking together.)
french fries in a metal pan

Alternatives to White Potatoes

These starchy vegetables can generally be baked, mashed, or fried similarly to potatoes. 

green banana with flour displayed on a wood background

Alternatives To Potato Chips

  • Apple Chips
  • Black Bean Chips
  • Corn Chips
  • Green Banana Chips
  • Kale Chips
  • Plantain Chips
  • Pita Chips
  • Seaweed Chips
  • Sweet Potato Chips
  • Taro Chips
  • Yucca Chips

Be sure to check labels for hidden ingredients.

potato chips alternatives infographic with healthy chip options like, corn, apple, kale, banana, taro chips for potato allergy

Bottom Line

If you know or suspect that you can’t eat potato due to an allergy, sensitivity, or other intolerance, help is available.

We recommend working with an Allergist, Registered Dietitian, or Certified Leap Therapist to identify which foods are safest for you and which foods you should avoid.

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11 healthy potato chip alternatives pinterest graphic with kale chips displayed


Authors

  • Lisa Hugh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Leap Therapist. She has a Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration. As a a Food Sensitivity Expert, her passion is helping people with complex medical and nutrition needs find food and groceries that are safe and enjoyable. Lisa enjoys helping clients in her private practice.

  • Kristen Rohrer has a doctorate degree in Health Sciences. She is a Certified Nutrition Specialist, a Licensed Dietitian and Physician Assistant. Her specialties are pediatric nutrition, women's health, nutrition as preventative medicine.

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